Alt-Right Bête Noire Milo Yiannopoulos is an Aquinas-quoting Catholic

Alt-Right Bête Noire Milo Yiannopoulos is an Aquinas-quoting Catholic February 2, 2017

. . . how the first line (“imagine how bad I’d be without God”) is clearly a paraphrase of another notoriously bad Catholic, Evelyn Waugh (drug addict, dabbler in homosexuality, bad dad, adulter, and generally abusive toward opponents), author of the literary classic, Brideshead Revisited. The original Waugh line from a BBC interview goes, “You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being” [you can watch the whole video and my comments on it here]. I don’t know enough about Milo Yiannopoulos to pass judgment on him. From what little I know he’s quite a cyberbully who’s been banned from Twitter. But then the line of theology he expounds above is mostly OK (how’s that for lukewarm to cold?).

41TCz8ZUQnL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Yet another point of literary contact is Walker Percy, the patron saint of this blog. Compare what Milo said to what Percy said in a self-interview collected in Conversations with Walker Percy:

Q: What kind of Catholic are you?
A. Bad.
Q: No. I mean are you liberal or conservative?
A: I no longer know what those words mean.
Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?
A: I don’t know what that means, either. Do you mean do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?
Q: Yes.
A: Yes.
Q: How is such a belief possible in this day and age?
A: What else is there?
Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.
A: That’s what I mean.

Percy then continues with the Bad Catholic line:

 Q: In fact, if I may be frank, you strike me as being rather negative in your attitude, cold-blooded, aloof, derisive, self-indulgent, more fond of the beautiful things of this world than of God.
A: That’s true.
Q: You even seem to take certain satisfaction in the disasters of the twentieth-century and to savor the imminence of world catastrophe rather than world peace, which all religions seek.
A: That’s true.
Q: You don’t seem to have much use for your fellow Christians, to say nothing of Ku Kluxers, ACLU’ers, northerners, southerners, fem-libbers, anti-fem-libbers, homosexuals, anti-homosexuals, Republicans, Democrats, hippies, anti-hippies, senior citizens.
A: That’s true – though taken as individuals they turn out to be more or less like oneself, i.e., sinners, and we get along fine.

Aquinas' own 280 page Summa Cliffs' Notes. No excuse now.
Aquinas’ own 280 page Summa Cliffs’ Notes. No excuse now.

I’m not afraid to out mostly reviled figures, such as prominent philosopher and sometime Nazi, Martin Heidegger, as being Catholic. Heck, it’s going to happen anyway since the Catholic imagination is public and no sin (or virtue) remains hidden privately only in God’s view, as it might for the Protestant imagination. There’s no hiding it, so here it is…

Now, if Milo Yiannopoulos is anything like every other person on the book tour circuit, then his talk at Berkeley would probably be identical to the one he gave at Cal Poly State about a week ago. This is where the Aquinas comes in as Breitbart (who else?) reports:

“Here is the relevant distinction, and I’m quoting from the Church’s ‘Angelic Doctor,’ St. Thomas Aquinas,” he continued. “Human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain.”

“In other words, it’s not wise to punish with human law everything that may be opposed to the natural law. That means I can say it’s wrong to take innocent life, without having to say that we should outlaw abortions in every single case,” MILO explained. “In a sane country, we would argue about what cases should be illegal. Should you, for instance, as often happens in non-Christian lands, allow abortion when parents don’t want a girl baby?”

As MILO moved on with a fact that he claimed “would help you understand that Thomas Aquinas and the Church aren’t the kill-joy puritans that your lying professors claim,” he declared that “St. Thomas and before him St. Augustine both followed this anti-utopian view I’ve described when it came to prostitution.”

“They thought it was wrong to do, but foolish to make illegal…”

Right or left?
Right or left?

Just when you thought you knew how the world runs and where you stand, there’s this guy. The more you know, etc. Milo Yiannopoulos is one of your own, Catholics.

Granted, it does seem he has things a little bit backwards when he subordinates his faith to promoting his politics (alt-right in this case), whereas the proper order according to Aquinas’ Summa Theologica should be the reverse:

Solicitude about temporal things may be unlawful, through too much earnestness in endeavoring to obtain temporal things, the result being that a man is drawn away from spiritual things which ought to be the chief object of his search, wherefore it is written (Matthew 13:22) that ‘the care of this world . . . chokes up the word.’

The pope seems to have a better handle on being (pardon the pun) CATHOLIC FIRST in his message to President Trump, but who am I to judge? (remember the original context of the statement?).

In tangentially related news, a posthumous and unfinished science-fiction novel, by Czeslaw Milosz (no relation), Polish poet, former Berkeley prof, Nobel Lareaute, and so on, entitled The Mountains of Parnassus, has been recently released. The novel was originally published by a left-wing press in Poland, but the book itself bemoans the loss of, wait for it, patriarchy (as in the Western intellectual tradition), and the confusion that can only lead to.

Finally, thanks to the wonders of targeted advertising, I’ve found out that Nestle produces a chocolate malt drink powder called . . . Milo.

Alright, these are all the public service announcements I can handle for today.

Speaking of wild things . . . did you know that today (Feb. 2nd) is the Feast of Our Lady of Thunder Candles?

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